Amidst the coronovirus crisis, Andrew Cuomo’s administration is trying to buy millions of dollars of Chinese medical gear – and is forced to force a law firm in Hong Kong to withdraw the taxpayer’s money it has lost. The Post has learned.
According to records posted online by the state’s Comptroller Department, the Health Department signed a $ 125,000 contract with foreign lawyers, Gal Solicitors, at the end of last year.
A one-year treaty was exempted from “pre-audit” by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli under the pandemic-related emergency powers Cuomo granted itself on March 7 – and what some lawmakers now call New York nursing homes Want to cancel due to controversy over deaths. .
Earlier this month, The Post exclusively revealed that a top aide privately admitted that Cuomo’s administration hid the number of deaths in hospitals from lawmakers and the public over fears that federal prosecutors would Will use “against us”. This provoked Cuomo to seek impeachment and also reported to the federal Justice Department.
Officials refused to provide the Post with a copy of the legal retainer contract or details of the underlying dispute.
But a spokesman for Cuomo admitted that the DOH hired Bile on December 24 “to help us recover state funds related to the purchase.”
Spokesperson Rich Ajjopardi said, “The contract was just approved and papers will be filed soon, and we will preserve comment until then.”
The DOH had previously hired the white-shoe law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to purchase coronovirus-related medical equipment and supplies.
The agreement was reached on March 1 and could cost taxpayers $ 1.25 million according to the taxpayer’s website.
DOH spokesman Gary Holmes said, “Skadden was hired to provide much-needed expertise to ensure that state-purchased equipment is delivered to FDA requirements before state-owned equipment is delivered to hospitals.” Complete. “
The state signed more than $ 1 billion in deals for medical supplies and equipment last year – only partially seeking total funds later, which the New York Times reported in mid-December, something to be appointed by the DOH time ago. Pitta.
On this issue please deposit me $ 12.5 million for 1,000 ventilators from LLC, a company that had never sold high-tech devices before, but whose product line included sex toys, children’s books and other items. The Times said.
The state paid Silicon Valley engineer Yaron Oren-Pines in March for $ 69.1 million for 1,450 ventilators – three times the going rate – soon he tweeted, “We can supply ICU ventilators, aggressive and aggressive , “But never received a single one. The unit, Buzzfeed News, reported in April.
The state recovered $ 59 million but was still chasing the remaining $ 10 million, Buzzfeed reported in October.
In his best-selling memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Epidemic,” Cuomo defended the deal on the basis that “we believed life was on the line and understood that we had something There were options. “
Cuomo also wrote that “law enforcement is reviewing the case for possible prosecution.”
Azzopardi did not respond to a request for an update on any of the ventilator’s failed purchases, but said the state had recovered a total of $ 235 million in missile funds.
Please do not immediately return messages to me seeking comment by Eddie Sitt, owner of LLC, Oren-Pines and Skadden, Arps as well.